Archive for the 'Teacher Education' Category

Getting to Know Our Alumni: Meet Jay Posick

This fall, we are continuing our series of getting to know our alumni! You can get to know more of our students, alumni and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Jay Posick, one of our alums!

I have lived in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, and Waukesha, but have lived in Wisconsin since 1977. However, I currently live in Merton, WI. I am married to my wife of 27 years, Jenifer, and we have a daughter, Lauren, who is 19. I am currently the principal at Merton Intermediate School in Merton, WI. I enjoy learning alongside our students, staff, and families. I like the supportive community and the chance to celebrate the learning that happens in our school every day. Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 2.20.15 PM (1).png

My favorite educational experience is being in classrooms with our students and staff every day. We are embarking on determining ways that we can meet the social/emotional learning needs of our students and staff.  It’s so important as an educator to teach children and not just the content.

 I was drawn to Marquette as a track athlete and engineering student, but quickly changed to realize that teaching and education was really who I am and what I wanted to do. I am also a runner (I have a running streak that dates back to August of 1987) and some of our family trips have been to places that I have run marathons (New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati).

I am inspired to be my first principal as a teacher, Joe Vitale, and my first superintendent as a principal, Mark Flynn, as well as my #principalsinaction professional learning network on Twitter and Voxer. Any teacher or administrative candidates who would like to visit our school are more than welcome to contact me at jayposick@gmail.com or just stop by our school in Merton, WI.

Some thoughts on the recent message from President Lovell concerning the College of Education

art-artistic-bright-220502By Kathryn Rochford

I am inspired by where we will take this program, regardless of any possible changes to a college that will shape hundreds of impactful educators.

Hi everyone!

I know it’s been a while since I last wrote on this blog, life has gotten busy over the past few weeks! I wanted to start off by saying I am so happy to be back on campus and have really been enjoying sophomore year so far. It’s been great to reconnect with friends, get to know new professors and explore Milwaukee more and more. I can’t believe we are already at the seventh week of school; this semester is really flying by!

However, a month ago, I received an email that caught me off guard. I remember going about my day, business as usual, when the email from Dr. Henk, the Dean for the College of Education came in. He wanted to clarify a statement made by President Lovell regarding the current affairs of the College of Education and that it would be undergoing an evaluation to examine the efficiency of our college. I remember being taken aback as I wondered what this possibly could mean for our college, for my fellow peers and me, and even for the future students looking to become educators just like me.

My first thought was immediate confusion. How could this be happening? What could this mean? Could the higher-ups in the university have used language that made sense to students? (You may think I’m kidding, but I had friends of mine that were googling specific words we read in the statement and in the emails we received.) I remember walking into an education class that day and feeling this air of confusion, anxiety and concern surrounding my peers and me. We started class off that day asking our professor to clarify what was happening. As weeks went by, I started to hear about it from other students of different majors, asking me what was happening, expressing their concern for our college and for the students in it. I even had friends tell me that they felt it was ridiculous we weren’t getting more information about it and that we had every right to be fighting for our college, and I agree with them.

My peers and I were frustrated with the lack of information, the lack of inclusion of students, and even the constant reassurances that everything was fine. It felt to us like we were being disregarded or that our voice in the matter wasn’t as important. And yet, it caused my fellow students and me to start these discussions on why the College of Education is so important and why it means so much to us. It gave me this immense feeling of camaraderie and this sentiment that while we may not know exactly what’s going on, were going to be a part of a fight that truly meant something to us.

As more information came out, thanks to an email received from Dr. Henk about a week ago, we realized that these changes that may happen to our college weren’t as imminent as originally feared, but it still is concerning me that we might be undergoing quite a bit of reorganization over the next few years. I understand the reasoning behind all of it, but I hope these changes are minimal. I want the best for the incoming future educators of the generation behind me, I want students who haven’t even considered their future career path to have the same opportunities I have been given when I chose this college.

If I have learned anything while going through this process, it’s that I am so excited to be part of a group of people that feels the same way I do about the College of Education and its importance. I love the discussions I have with my peers about what it means to be in a specialized college for our major. I truly feel like I am meant to be here, in this college, and I feel so blessed to be a part of a peer and academic group that is set on making a difference in this world. I feel as education majors we really take Marquette’s mission statement to heart. We all go out into the world wanting to “Be the difference” for our future students and colleagues.

While change may be coming to the College of Education, rest assured we as students want to be involved and informed throughout the process of these changes. We want to be a part of the discussion about the importance of our college and its place in Marquette. In his last email to us, Dr. Henk described how much we inspire the faculty and staff of the College of Ed, and I share his sentiment. I am inspired by where we will take this program, regardless of any possible changes to a college that will shape hundreds of impactful educators. I’m excited to see the difference we, as students, will make in the world and in our student’s lives.

 

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Nelly Gilhooly

This fall, we are continuing our series getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Nelly Gilhooly, one of our undergraduate students in the College!

nelly gilhoolyMy name is Nelly Gilhooly, and I am a current freshman in the College of Education. I am studying Middle/Secondary Education and History. I grew up in Mount Prospect, IL, which is a small suburb of Chicago. I have never lived in Milwaukee before, and I am very excited to be here! Both of my parents work in a school environment. My mom is a first grade teacher, and my dad is a school engineer. I also have two sisters, one older and one younger than me.

My favorite education experience I have had was during high school. My Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) teacher would show us crazy videos and songs at the beginning of each class to make my classmates and me excited to learn. This upcoming school year, I am very excited to learn more about something that is meaningful to me and learn about subjects I am passionate about. I was drawn to Marquette’s College of Education because I immediately loved the feeling I had here. I was very impressed by the connection the tour guides would make with each of the prospective students, and I also appreciated the hand written letters I would receive from the College of Education throughout the school year. My family also went to Marquette, so I am excited to be attending this school knowing how much this school has done for them.

This year, I am excited to go to sporting events and meeting other students at Marquette with similar interests as mine. I know by getting involved on campus, it will help me to make friends that will last my entire lifetime. Although I have only been here for a few weeks now, I would advise any new students to be outgoing and as social as you can be. You never know what you could miss out on! Do not be afraid to be yourself and enjoy the time you have. My inspiration for being an educator are my high school teachers. There was never a time where I felt uncomfortable or didn’t understand what was going on in class. They truly made my high school experience more enjoyable.

Getting to Know Our Faculty: Meet Dr. Julissa Ventura

We’re excited to introduce you to Dr. Julissa Ventura who joined the Educational Policy and Leadership department this fall as an assistant professor. Read on to learn more about her, and don’t forget to check out our other posts featuring faculty and students!

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I grew up in West New York, New Jersey, which is as its name says is west of New York City. Although I was born and raised in Jersey, I am Salvadoran as both my parents are Salvadoran and immigrated to the United States in 1980’s. I have only lived in Milwaukee for about a month, since August 2019, but am familiar with Wisconsin because I spent seven years in Madison studying for my Master’s and PhD in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Like I mentioned, both my parents are from El Salvador, and they still live in New Jersey with my two younger siblings – my brother who is 26 and my sister who is 17. I like to think that having a sister whois in her teens keeps me cool since she keeps me up to date on all the trends.

My favorite educational experience is a research internship I did my senior year at Swarthmore College where I received my undergraduate degree. I was working through the University of Pennsylvania on a project with Latinx parents and their experiences in schools in Philadelphia suburb. Part of my internship was to facilitate an afterschool homework club with teachers and Latina mothers. I did a lot of translating between the teachers and the mothers, but also saw how a research partnership between a university and a school could make a difference in the lives of marginalized parents and students. I saw how the mothers learned much more about the different activities and services at the school, and the teachers learned about the mothers’ lives, cultures, and hopes for their children’s education. This experience inspired me to go onto graduate school and also engage in community-based research.

An exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year for me will be to get to know more students, faculty, and staff across campus. I want to connect to some of Marquette’s community and diversity initiatives and also get to know what students are passionate about on campus.

I was drawn to Marquette because of our social justice-oriented mission and the current efforts that the university is making to increase community partnerships as well as the diversity of its students and faculty.

Outside the classroom, I like to go to concerts – my partner and I really love going to see Latin American bands/artists. We just attended the Los Dells Latinx music festival over Labor Day weekend. This past summer I have also reconnected with my hobby of reading novels and find that it’s a really nice way to decompress and relax after work.

Both my parents are my inspiration for the work I do to create and foster educational opportunities for marginalized communities. My parents are the most courageous people I know as they both immigrated at a very young age, leaving behind all of their family to build a home in a country they didn’t know. They always pushed me to take every educational opportunity that came my way because they never had those opportunities, and it is their encouragement and support that has gotten me this far. So, to honor all immigrant parents do for their children, I am inspired to persevere in the struggle to create spaces of equitable educational opportunities for marginalized students in both K-12 schools and in higher education.

Getting to Know Our Faculty: Meet Dr. Gabriel Velez

This fall, we’re excited to welcome four new faculty members to the College of Education! Please take a moment to meet Dr. Gabriel Velez, an assistant professor in the department of Educational Policy and Leadership. You can also catch up on our entire series getting to know faculty and students!

IMG_0728 (1)I grew up in New York City, right in the heart of Manhattan. I still love going back there to visit my family because it is such a diverse place displaying all of humanity’s challenges, accomplishments, and energy condensed into a dynamic, never-dull city. I have also spent time living in South America, where I taught middle and high school for five years. I was in Peru as a Jesuit Volunteer, and during those two years I met my wife, Catherine Curley, who is a Milwaukee native and Marquette alum. Ever since I first came to Milwaukee over a decade ago—a trip that included a tour of campus—I have loved the city and felt like it was a second home. I look forward to my wife and my raising our first son Ian, who was born this past February, as a Brewers fan and Milwaukeean.

I am excited by all the important work being done with local partners and communities in Milwaukee, such as President Mike Lovell’s focus on combating trauma and the Center for Peacemaking’s various projects. There are a lot of great opportunities to be involved in promoting resilience and working closely with community partners. I am particularly looking forward to supporting the Peace Works program and learning more about different communities by linking with the Office of Community Engagement.

Marquette has always drawn my interest as a Jesuit institution committed to social justice. For me, the College of Education embodies how these ideals have shaped my own life. I have a lot of experience with Jesuit formation between my high school education at Regis in New York City and my two years with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Peru. Being a person for others has played out in my own life through my role as an educator and in working on promoting education to address violence and its legacies.  Here in the College, the faculty, students, and culture is imbued with this sense of mission: transforming education to serve humanity with attentiveness to the dignity and well-being of all. More broadly, Marquette is deeply engaged in the Milwaukee community, and I look forward to being a part of this work as an active citizen-scientist in the city.

As a half-Colombian, I joke that coffee is in my blood. It is truly one of my passions and is connected to so many great experiences and moments in my life—from silent retreats in Peru, to incredible morning sunrises in the Amazon, to my favorite bagel shop in New York, and all the many people and places over the years where I have enjoyed a warm cup. Milwaukee is such a great city for coffee, and I look forward to creating many more of these memories hear at the Colectivos, Valentines, Stone Creeks, Brews on campus, and smaller local roasters and shops. Aside from good coffee, I love to be active and particularly to run, but with my recently broken foot, it may be awhile away before I am back out doing a 5K.

 

 

On Toothaches, Titicaca, and Dreaming

This summer marks the third College of Education faculty-led study abroad trip to Peru. Dr. Melissa Gibson and 11 of our students are studying and learning in Lima while also traveling the country. Their blogs are originally posted on Marquette Meets Peru, and we’re excited to share them with you!

By Dr. Melissa Gibson

Isla Amantaní sits in the middle of Lake Titicaca, a rock of fields and homes rising up out of the water. It is said to be the spiritual center of the world, and staring out at the Andes and the expanse of Titicaca’s deep blue, it’s easy to see — and feel — why.

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Sunset at Casa Muñay, Isla Amantaní.

This year, I ended my time in Peru on Amantaní, a guest in the house of Mamá Fernanda and her sons, José Luis and Luis Alberto. Their simple home sits on the northern slope of Amantaní, and for 48 hours, I got to sip coca tea, stare at the lake, and marvel at the life they get to lead. There are no cars on Amantaní, so rather than the sounds of the city, the island echoes with bleating sheep, a very loud and angry burro, and — when the colectivos arrive onshore with their tour groups — a symphony of Andean flutes. I was drawn to Amantaní because, after a month of teaching and shuffling eleven undergrads around Peru, I knew I needed a few days to decompress, recharge, and breathe. When I land in Milwaukee after this annual month abroad, I must hit the ground running, the busy life of upper-middle-class America not waiting for me to catch my breath.

What a stark contrast that is to the life of Fernanda and her sons. They live in two humble but loved houses, just up the hill from one another. During high season, they welcome guests into the family home that sits below; the rest of the year, they tend to their sheep and crops. Fernanda spends her days washing potatoes, cooking meals, laundering linens — and shouting up and down the hill to her sons and neighbors about whatever matters in that moment.

At my first lunch on her verandah, Fernanda hugged me tightly and let me know just how happy she was to have me as a guest. And over our remaining meals together, she told me how much she loved being able to work in tourism now, how much she loved learning Spanish as an adult so she could communicate with more people, and how much she loved running this business with her boys. She smiled at me as she assured me, even when your children are grown, you miss them and want them near you; how grateful she is that her boys didn’t move to Puno and instead live right here, with her, where she can make sure they eat right and are always loved. With my own hectic American life waiting to charge forward, I couldn’t help but think, this is the life. Tranquility, beauty, family, rhythm. How much easier to live without the constant need to be more and do more. How much easier to live in a community where every single person knows and helps one another. How much easier to have what you need and no more. At Casa Muñay, Fernanda’s home, there is solar powered lighting and hot water, hand-woven blankets, freshly cultivated meals. There is no wifi, no TV, no malls, no danger. There are no city lights to block out the Southern Cross at night, no interference to block out the moments of each day. In my 48 hours at Casa Muñay, I couldn’t help but think how wrong we’ve got it in the modern, industrialized world.


Of course, this is not the whole story of Amantaní. Amantaní is also considered a community of extreme poverty in Peru, and that fact is evident in the missing teeth of elders, in the worn out shoes just barely covering feet, in the partially constructed homes. Amantaní is isolated, a two- to four-hour boat ride from Puno, depending on the age of the boat, and options for life on the island are limited. In my first conversation with Luis Alberto, Fernanda’s younger son, I learned that he, like so many of the students I have come to know at UARM, was a Beca 18 recipient — a government scholarship for the top students from Peru’s poorest areas to attend university in Lima. But he didn’t accept it. Lima is far and hard to get to. He knew he would need support living there, and who would provide that? Plus, Fernanda needed support here in Amantaní; at that point, his father was still working in the Amazon jungle in agriculture, one of the only options for work to support his family. So Luis didn’t take the scholarship. When he can, he takes classes at the university in Puno in tourism, but otherwise, he is making do with the life that he’s always had on Amantaní — taking care of his mother, watching fútbol in the plaza with his cousins, and bringing tourists to their home via Airbnb.

And Fernanda — Fernanda, who is so grateful to be working in tourism now with her boys, knows that tourism is her survival. Her husband spent most of her boys’ lives working in Lima or in the Amazon, while she was here on Amantaní, trying to survive with little food and little help. Over breakfast, she told me how her mother and her grandmother had suffered living on Amantaní, and how her own boys suffered growing up here, where there are no jobs, no food, no adequate medical care or education. A few years ago, her husband died in the jungle where he was working. The family has yet to go there. It is expensive and far and he’s already gone. She told me how every day, even before her husband was lost to the jungle, she would cry, and when her boys were big enough, they said, “Stop crying, Mamá; we are going to take care of you. We are going to bring tourists to our home and make a business.”

However, high season is only three months. The rest of the year, the family tends to their fields and flocks. Tourism provides enough money so that they won’t go hungry in the off-season — but not enough money to help Fernanda with her teeth, about which Luis Alberto told me, “Se sufre mucho por su dientes.” My second day at Casa Muñay, Fernanda woke up with a terrible toothache. Her jaw was swollen and hot, clear signs of infection. But the medical post on the island doesn’t have antibiotics, and Puno is hours away by boat. Before she could go anywhere, she needed to bring water to her sheep, finish her potato harvest, and hang the wash in the sun (and she refused my help because I am a guest in her home). Instead, she made an herbal poultice to put on her jawline, gladly accepted my bottle of ibuprofen, and went about her daily life. She will get to a medical clinic when she can — if she can — and odds are, this is just one more tooth she will lose.


My students and I ended the academic portion of our time in Peru considering self-determination, a concept we don’t typically talk about in teacher education coursework. What is it? Why is it necessary for justice? As we considered these questions from an academic perspective, we also considered them experientially in the small town of Andahuaylillas. In town, the local Fé y Alegría school is bilingual and bicultural, Quechua and Spanish, and local pedagogical specialists spend their workweeks in isolated high-altitude communities, accompanying the educators and families there in their own journeys of educational self-determination. We also visited Cuyuní, one of those high-altitude communities, where families are transforming the material conditions of their lives through sustainable practices, economic cooperatives, and partnerships with the Fé y Alegría teachers. At our final seminar, predictably, my students marveled at how both of these communities defied expectations of rural poverty, how people seemed so happy and proud with what they had, and how neither seemed to be a community in need. These communities were making their own way in the world, partnering with those who have additional resources when they can, but proudly holding onto their identities, cultures, and communities.

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Mural at the parish in Andahuaylillas.

The reality, however, is complex, and I’m reminded of that as a guest at Casa Muñay. In this month, I have wanted my students to see each community they meet through an asset-based lens. I have wanted them to see strengths and innovation and community; I have wanted them to see beyond the surface of needs and deficits to instead meet communities through what Eve Tuck calls a “desire-based” lens. Tuck tells us that desire

““[Y]es, accounts for the loss and despair, but also the hope, the visions, the wisdom of lived lives and communities. Desire is involved with the not yet and, at times, the not anymore.”

But it’s not enough to simply see desires rather than damages. Seeing those desires doesn’t undo the fact that injustice persists. The question is, what will we do once we see those desires? How will we accompany communities as they move towards making their desires a reality?

In so many ways, the life that Fernanda, Luis, and José have constructed for themselves is beautiful, but it is also fundamentally unjust that Fernanda suffers from crippling toothaches, that they never got to say goodbye to their husband and father, and that their community’s livelihood is threatened by a changing climate not of their making. I don’t believe that acknowledging these things is giving in to deficit or damage-centered thinking. Rather, to acknowledge these things is to acknowledge the complicated reality that Fernanda and her boys live in, or as Eve Tuck says, to acknowledge the “complexity, contradiction, and the self-determination of lived lives.” Reality: Jesuit teaching tells us we need to humbly submit to the multitude of realities that exist in the world in order to accompany one another on our struggles to transform those realities toward justice. So maybe justice requires an acknowledgement of reality, but also a dream for what’s next. Justice is the desire for the “not yet,” and the “not anymore.”


When it comes to education, we keep trying to define justice as a specific, concrete thing: Equal funding. Desegregated schools. Parental choice. Equalized achievement. Standardized curriculum. Individualized teaching. Project-based learning. We want an answer, a solution, a ten-point plan.

Instead, maybe we need to consider Nancy Fraser’s assertion that justice is achieved through negation, through a state of always fighting back against the injustices we see:

““[J]ustice is never actually experienced directly. By contrast, we do experience injustice, and it is only through this that we form an idea of justice. Only by pondering the character of what we consider unjust do we begin to get a sense of what would count as an alternative. Only when we contemplate what it would take to overcome injustice does our otherwise abstract concept of justice acquire any content. Thus, the answer to Socrates’s question, ‘What is justice?’ can only be this: justice is the overcoming of injustice.”

In this understanding of justice, it becomes easier to sit with the complicated reality of places like Amantaní or Cuyuní, to understand that self-determination requires that we dismantle systems of injustice, but that we do so while also honoring and submitting to the beautiful, complicated, rich lives that persist in spite of those injustices. Because, to again quote Eve Tuck, “This is to say that even when communities are broken and conquered, they are so much more than that — so much more that this incomplete story is an act of aggression.”

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Fé y Alegría, Andahuaylillas.

Instead, justice demands that we see colonial histories at the same time that we imagine decolonized futures. Justice demands that we celebrate what Mamá Fernanda and her sons have built at the same time that we fight for fundamental human rights, such as adequate health care. Justice demands that we learn to listen, to witness, and to accompany. Justice demands, as Tuck calls it, desire:

“Desire is about longing, about a present that is enriched by both the past and the future. It is integral to our humanness…Desire is the song about walking through the storm, a song that recognizes rather than denies that pain doubtlessly lies ahead.”


Or maybe not. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m still entrenched in damage-centered thinking. What I do know for sure is that, after a month in Peru, there is so much I don’t know other than the power of human connection. And I am also sure that this human connection—along with uncertainty, outrage, creativity, and joy—is essential for moving social transformation. In her book, We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching & the Pursuit of Educational Freedom, Bettina Love quotes writer and activist adrienne marie brown, who says, “All social justice work is science fiction. We are imagining a world free of injustice, a world that doesn’t yet exist.” Love goes on to connect this to freedom dreaming, or the ability to envision and struggle towards a future of freedom where you can “create your reality, where uplifting humanity is at the center of all decisions.” This is not easy work. No, this is struggle. And freedom dreaming — or what Love also calls abolitionist teaching — is

“[W]elcoming struggles, setbacks, and disagreements, because one understands the complexity of uprooting injustice but finds beauty in the struggle. Abolitionist teachers fight for children they will never meet or see, because they are visionaries. They fight for a world that has yet to be created and for children’s dreams that have yet to be crushed by anti-Blackness.”

Abolitionist teachers are driven by desire, by sovereignty, by joy, by love, by rage, by relationships, by principle, by imagination, by struggle. And I feel all of these things as I sit with Mamá Fernanda, who is smiling and talking to me despite her pain. My time with her, like all of my time in Peru, is a “yes, and” experience, an experience that re-roots me in desire and freedom dreaming and an urgency to do more in my daily life to transform our world toward justice. And if nothing else, I hope that after a month in Peru, my students are also freedom dreaming about a world that is not yet, but will one day be.

From Lima to Cusco

This summer marks the third College of Education faculty-led study abroad trip to Peru. Dr. Melissa Gibson and 11 of our students are studying and learning in Lima while also traveling the country. Their blogs are originally posted on Marquette Meets Peru, and we’re excited to share them with you!

By Mary Kate Jezuit

machu-pichu-peru-inca-places-monuments-a419a5-1024It is hard to believe our time in Peru has come to an end. As I am writing this final post on the flight home, I find myself reflecting on the experiences of this past month. Though this month flew by, it feels like I have been in Peru for so much longer. This last week in Cusco has given me an entirely new layer and context to my overall understanding of Peru. The Andean context is so different than that of Lima, the lifestyle is different, and the culture is different, giving schools in the Andes unique strengths and challenges. These various contexts do matter when it comes to education because it determines the needs of a school and the aims of education. For example, in the Andes students will often walk hours to and from school because transportation and schools are not as accessible as they are in Lima. Additionally, the language and culture of Quechua is something that many students are a part of, but it is looked down upon by the rest of Peru. Since the soil is not ideal for growing many fruits and vegetables a lot of students are lacking these nutrients. These are just a few of the major challenges that are specific to an Andean context, that are not present in Lima.

When it comes to an “equal education”, if there is anything I have learned from this month, it is that this term is anything but black and white. Of course education is not going to be exactly the same in both Lima and Cusco, because of the totally different contexts and ways of life. An “equal education” does not mean providing the exact same materials or teaching in the exact same way to two populations with different needs. In fact, this would be giving one group the short end of the stick, despite it being equal by definition. Therefore, no, the education in Lima and the Andes is not equal, so the question is, is it equitable, or fair considering the circumstances and ultimately, is it just? From the perspective of the Fe y Alegria school we visited in Cusco and having that be the only example of a school from the Andes, education is equitable- to an extent. There is also an important caveat regarding which education in Lima we are comparing the Andean education to, since as we established in our time in Lima, education in El Agustino is far different than education at La Inmaculada or Roosevelt. This all being said, I would say that the education at Fe y Alegria is most equitable to the education at La Inmaculada, due to the dual language component, relatively high-quality facilities and many excellent teachers, all present in both schools. It is also important to note that these two schools served students from different social classes, but both had Jesuit pedagogy coming into play. Also, I do not think that this judgement can extend to schools across the Andean region, as from what we learned at Fe y Alegria, there is inequity within schools in the Andes, specifically those that are in more remote areas. Those schools have a lack of resources, the most important of which being teachers and social workers to best serve their students. This shows that disparities in education are present everywhere, but also vary depending on context.

Much of the reason for the disparities in education among different communities we have seen in both Peru and the United States is due to segregation. Segregation in schools was ended by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, but as Gloria Ladson-Billings points out in her article, “Landing on the Wrong Note,”this landmark decision caused other issues within schools. Though integration happened, black culture within classrooms and black teachers were lost as integration was forced into white schools. Additionally, overtime schools became segregated again as white families moved out of the cities, and schools once again operated within the bubble of its specific neighborhood. Though segregation is illegal, it still happens, and it was even more obvious in Peru because we came face to face with it. Power also comes into play here when it comes to resources and inequalities because the schools with the people who hold the most power will get the best resources. When this happens, the achievement gap between communities, races or social classes will widen. I noticed this context in Peru when we were in Cusco and the woman at Fe y Alegria was talking about how Quechua culture is not the norm and is therefore often forgotten in areas where it is not practiced. This relates to segregation because the Andean communities are geographically isolated, and it results in the same effect in terms of who gets the most resources and support.

This relates to our shift in mentality of what we are going to do with what we have learned in Peru when we get back to the United States. When thinking of solutions, it is important to consider all contexts and come at things from an asset-based approach, seeing the strengths of every community. When it came to Brown, I do not think an asset-based approach was used because it disregarded both the needs and positives of the African American schools, and they suffered in the long run. Sometimes the easiest or most seemingly obvious solution is not the best one. It requires a lot of forward thinking, time and consideration from all parties involved in order to come up with the best solution to such big issues such as the ones we have discussed this summer. Even after this, solutions will still always need to be reevaluated and tweaked, in order for them to continue working, as populations are always changing. Ultimately, it will take a lot of work to make a dent in the educational disparities that we have seen this month. However, we have a good foundation by considering and having in-depth discussions about these issues and what we can do going forward in our professional lives. This time in Peru has been unforgettable and I am taking so much back home with me, including a greater appreciation for various pedagogies, my own education and Peruvian culture and people.


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